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norca, to Spain, on the restoration of the Bahamas ; and this was finally accepted by de Aranda, though contrary to his instructions. Preliminary treaties between Great Britain, France and Spain, were finally settled and signed, on the 20th of January, 1783.
When these, with the provisional treaty with America, were laid before parliament, in February following, they became the subject of violent debates, and severe animadversion. The ministry were accused of sacrificing the interests of their country, by making unnecessary concessions to their enemies. One of the resolutions introduced into the house of commons, on the subject, by lord John Cavendish, was, that " the concessions made to the adversaries of Great Britain, by the provisional treaty, and preliminary articles, were greater than they were entitled to, either from the actual situation of their respective possessions, or from their comparative strength.” This resolution was carried against the ministry, 207, to 190. The great object of the majority was, to compel lord Shelburne, and some of his adherents, to resign their places. This was effected by the extraordinary coalition of lord North and Mr. Fox, and their friends. On the 2d of April, a new administration was formed, at the head of which was placed the duke of Portland ; and lord North and Mr. Fox were made secretaries of state.
The provisional treaty having become effectual in consequence of the treaty between Great Britain and France, congress, on the 11th of April, 1783, proclaimed a cessation of hostilities, and on the 15th of the same month, formally ratified the treaty. The article concerning the recovery of debts contracted before the revolution, particularly its silence with respect to interest during the time of the war, produced dissatisfaction, in some of the states. In December, 1782, the legislature of Virginia instructed their delegates, to procure from congress a direction to their ministers, not to agree to the restitution of property confiscated by the states, “nor submit that the laws made by any independent state of the union, be subjected to the adjudication of any power on earth."
The executive council of Pennsylvania, in a letter to congress, stated the hardships to which the citizens of that state might be subjected by the article in the treaty relating to the recovery of debts, if taken strictly. This subject was considered by congress in May, 1782, and their commissioners were instructed to represent to the British negociators, the situation in which the citizens of the United States would be placed by an immediate collection of debts contracted before the war ; and to procure (if possible) an article, that no execution should issue, for any such debts, in less than three years after signing of the definite treaty. Congress, at the same time, declared that all demands for interest accruing during the war, would be highly inequitable and unjust; and directed their negociators to procure a precise definition of the article relating to debts, expressly excluding all demand for interest, in order to prevent future disputes on that subject.
In April, 1783, after the formation of the new administration, David Hartley was sent to Paris, to complete the negociations between Great Britain and the United States. The negociators, however, were unable to agree on any alterations in the former articles; nor were they able to agree on arrangements, for the future commercial intercourse between the two countries. On the 3d of September, 1783, a definitive treaty was signed, containing only the articles that were embraced in the provisional treaty of the preceding November. The definitive treaties, between Great Britain, France and Spain, were signed at the same time: and that between Great Britain and Holland, the day preceding
The American definitive treaty was ratified by congress on the 14th of January, 1784, and on the same day a proclamation was issued, requiring all persons to carry the same into effect with good faith ; and it was also earnestly recommended to the legislatures of the respective states, to provide for the restoration of the property of the loyalists, agreably to the fifth article.
The revolution not effected without great sacrifices and sufferings on the part of the
Americans-Paper money issued-Depreciates—Taxes not called for by congress until November, 1777—Paper money made a tender in payment of debts Prices of articles fixed by law-Congress attempt to call in the paper, but without successStates neglect to comply with the requisitions-Congress present an address to the states—Paper ceases to circulate in 1780—Distresses of the Americans for want of funds-Apply to France for aid-Special minister sent to the French court-King of France furnishes money-Loans obtained in Holland-New arrangements in the civil departments-Sufferings of the army-General Washington's letters on this subject—Revolt of the Pennsylvania line--- Americans suffer from the burning of their towns--Discontents among the officers of the army.--Half pay recommended by general Washington---Finally granted—Is unpopular in some of the states---Officers petition congress on this subject, and for a settlement of their accounts--Congress delay acting on their memorial--- This creates great uneasiness among the officers---A meeting called by an anonymous notification to obtain redress--- Prevented by general Washington---Congress grant five years full pay in lieu of the half pay for life---News of peace arrives---Arrangements made for disbanding the army--- General Washington sends a circular letter to the states---Definitive treaty of peace arrives---Army finally disbanded---General Washington addresses the army for the last time--- Takes leaves of his officers--- Resigns his commission to congress.
AFTER a conflict of eight years, Great Britain was compelled to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and a complete separation took place between the two countries. This political revolution was not effected without immense sacrifices and sufferings on the part of the Americans.
Destitute of arms and ammunition, without a single ship of war, and without the means of procuring them, no resource was left, to enable them to resist the mighty force brought against them, but a paper medium.
During the year 1775, as we have before stated, bills of credit to the amount of three millions of dollars, were issued by congress, in addition to those issued by some of the individual states. By new emissions, at different times, this sum was increased at the close of the year 1778, to more than one hundred millions.
POLITICAL AND CIVIL HISTORY, &c.
From the peculiar situation of the United States, without commerce, the union incomplete, the state governments imperfectly organized, congress deemed it imprudent to call for taxes, until November, 1777. At this time, they recommended to the several states, to raise by taxes, the sum of five millions of dollars, for the succeeding year. This sum was apportioned among the states, having reference generally, to the supposed number of inhabitants in each.* The sums so apportioned, however, were not to be considered as the final quota of any state; but the amount paid by each, was to be placed to its credit, bearing an interest of six per cent. from the time of payment, until the quotas should be finally adjusted, agreeably to the confederation, to be adopted and ratified by the states. If, on such adjustment, any state had paid more than its quota, it was to receive interest on the surplus ; if less, then to pay interest on the deficiency, until, by a future tax, such surplus or deficiency should be adjusted.
Depreciation of this paper was the natural consequence of such large emissions. This was seriously felt, in the beginning of 1777; and to provide a remedy, congress in January of that year, made it a tender in payment of all public and private debts; and a refusal to receive it, was declared to be an extinguishment of the debt itself. And they thought proper to declare, that whoever should refuse to receive it, in exchange for any property, as gold and silver, should be deemed an enemy to his country. They, at the same time, resorted to the extraordinary expedient of regulating the prices of all articles necessary for the army; and if any persons refused to sell the surplus of what was wanted for the annual support of their families, the purchasing commissaries were authorized to take such surplus at the prices so fixed.
* To New Hampshire,
200,000 820,000 100,000 600,000 200,000 270,000 620,000
60,000 520,000 800,000 250,000 500,000 60,000
These extraordinary measures tended to increase rather than diminish the evil. The bills still continued to depreciate rapidly, and some more effectual remedy, than tender and regulating laws, was necessary. In 1779, congress attempted to establish a fund for sinking the bills then in circulation, by calling on the states to pay their quotas of fifteen millions of dollars for that year, and six millions annually for the eighteen succeeding years.
These calls upon the states were made in vain ; little was paid into the public treasury; and new bills were issued, which swelled the amount in September, 1779, to one hundred and sixty millions. At this time, congress thought it necessary, to declare that the issues, on no account, should exceed two hundred millions. Nor did they then despair of their ultimate redemption at par. In a circular address to their constituents, they with apparent sincerity and zeal, endeavored to prove, that the United States had the ability, as well as disposition eventually to redeem their bills. After stating the probable future resources of the country, from an increase of population, a vast increase of agricultural productions, the avails of the western lands, &c., they say, “whoever examines the force of these and similar observations, must smile at the ignorance of those, who doubt the ability of the United States, to redeem the bills.” They indignantly repelled the idea of a violation of the plighted faith of the nation.
“ The pride of America,” they observed, “revolts at the idea ; her citizens know for what purpose these emissions were made, and have repeatedly plighted their faith for the redemption of them; they are to be found in every man's possession, and every man is interested in their being redeemed ; they must therefore entertain a high opinion of American credulity, who suppose the people capable of believing, on due reflection, that all America will, against the faith, the honor, and the interest of all America, be ever prevailed upon to countenance, support, or permit so ruinous, so disgraceful a measure."
While every one must applaud the spirit of these observations ; few, we believe, will not regret to find in the same address, remarks on the supposed advantages of paper money, calcula